Castaldo Comes Through Again as Baycats Comeback to Defeat Panthers in Game One

by Ryan Eakin

MIDHURST - Three to go.

The Barrie Baycats came back to defeat the Kitchener Panthers 7-4 on Tuesday evening to take a 1-0 series lead in their best-of-seven league championship series.

Baycats starter Emilis Guerrero recorded the victory, tossing six innings while giving up three earned runs on three hits and one base on balls while striking out four batters along the way.

Baycats left fielder/first basemen Jordan Castaldo led the way at the plate, going two-for-four with one strikeout.

Baycats closer Adam Hawes recorded the save.

Panthers starter Jasvir Rakkar took the loss, tossing five and two-thirds of an inning while allowing six earned runs on eight hits and five bases on balls while striking out five batters along the way.


BARRIE - 7-11-1

BIGGEST PLAY OF THE GAME: Tied at four runs apiece in the bottom of the sixth inning, Castaldo hit a two-run single to right field to give the Baycats a 6-4 lead.

NICEST PLAY OF THE GAME: Tied at zero in the bottom of the second inning, Baycats catcher Kyle DeGrace hit a ball to centre field that looked to be a sure double.

Panthers centre fielder Tanner Nivins, however, made a diving catch to rob DeGrace of a hit.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3: The Baycats ran into three outs tonight, and until they mounted their comeback in the bottom of the sixth inning, it looked as though it was going to cost them dearly.

3: Baycats general and field manager Angus Roy used three relievers tonight, and they all threw scoreless innings to secure the victory.

Reliever Santos Arias threw a scoreless top of the seventh inning on just ten pitches, while reliever Darren Shred breezed through the Panthers in the top of the eighth inning on just twelve pitches.

Hawes, of course, recorded the save in the top of the ninth inning.

NEWS FROM THE GAME: Baycats starter Matthew St. Kitts was slated to start tonight's game one before something came up.

He will now pitch game two in Kitchener on Thursday evening, while Adrian Salcedo is still scheduled to start game three on Saturday evening in Midhurst.

DeGrace, meanwhile, caught his first game since August, 1st.

Dealing with a rather significant upper-body injury, it is impressive, to say the least, that DeGrace is willing to put his body on the line to win another championship.


Roy on Guerrero: "He hung a couple of pitches," said Roy. "Realistically though, we have to make the play [shortstop Conner Morro's error] that starts that rally. Everyone on the diamond would say we have to make that play.

"If we make that play, we never know what happens, because all of sudden there is two out and nobody on base. So he might have attacked differently or something.

"You have to give [Panthers right fielder] Brian Burton credit, [he] Guerrero hung a slider and Burton hit it out. He then made a mistake to [Panthers catcher Mike] Gordner and he hit it out too.

"They are a good team over there, so I like the way we responded from there. We would rather not give up a four-spot, but that four-spot didn't snowball into five, six or seven runs to the point where we are out of the game."

Castaldo on The Baycats' Three Relievers: "We have three guys that throw fives," said Castaldo. "Three guys who can control multiple pitches, so that is dangerous. "They're a right-handed heavy lineup and their better hitters, their 1-2-3-4's, are all right-handed, so I'll take that matchup any day of the week."

Castaldo on Putting his Team Ahead: "I was just trying to get something up," said Castaldo. "He [Rakkar] has a pretty good changeup, the best one in the league if you ask me. So I feel like I had two strikes on me the entire evening because of him, so at that point, I was just trying to get something up and put a good swing on it."

Castaldo on the Mood in the Dugout After the Panthers Took a 4-0 Lead: "Those guys [the Panthers] like to get fired up and create a little hoopla, so we just stayed within ourselves and found a way to get it done," said Castaldo.

"We are a veteran group and have been here before, so we are not going to get too worked up about anything. We are [just] going to battle until the twenty-seventh out."

Roy on DeGrace Catching: "He's the toughest mother [expletive] that I have ever seen on the baseball field," said Roy. "There is just no question.

"He dealt with some stuff this year from a physical standpoint, but I would have been shocked if he didn't catch tonight. Just from knowing him and spending all the time that I have with him, I know how bad he wants to win and how tough he is. 

"It didn't surprise me at all that he was behind the dish tonight."

NEXT UP: Game two of this series takes place Thursday evening from Jack Couch Park in Kitchener.

First pitch is set for 7:30 PM.

For more information, follow the Baycats on Facebook and Twitter at @iblbaycats and on Instagram at @barriebaycats.

And remember that you can buy tickets for all of our home games online HERE.

Photo: Brian Backland/Brian Backland Photography